You’ve heard it before: Programmatic advertising is growing.  What you may not realize is how much it is growing when it comes to the local digital landscape.  Last month, Borrell Associates ( released a study stating that, in 2015, 10% of local digital ad spending will take place through automated buying and selling networks, equating to $5 billion.  This will be more than double the share from 2014 when just 4.7% of locally placed digital advertising was done programmatically.  This percentage is expected to grow substantially over the next couple of years – by 2019, programmatic will account for 61% of local digital ad spending, or $47 billion. That’s a very big jump.

Of course, this growth will come as the result of more local publishers selling their inventory in the programmatic space.  The Borrell study states that more than two thirds of local digital managers are already participating in some sort of programmatic network.  The study also found that currently, local publishers were most likely to sell between 11% and 30% of their online ad inventory through programmatic channels.

Mobile also continues to be a bigger piece of the local digital landscape.  According to a recent forecast by BIA/Kelsey (, local mobile ad spending in the US will rise this year from $4.3 billion to $6.7 billion – a 55.8% increase.  By 2019, this is expected to reach $18.2 billion.  Mobile’s share of local ad budgets will more than double between this year and 2019, from 4.8% to 11.5%.

As an agency, we are tasked with understanding the value of local websites in markets where our clients do business.  There are definitely times when it makes sense to partner with local websites directly for specific campaigns in order to have a larger presence or to make a higher impact.  However, given the plethora of websites in any given market, the shift to programmatic is certainly starting to help streamline the digital planning and buying process on the local level.  Additionally, with opportunities such as mobile geo-fencing and being able to reach consumers on a neighborhood level, we can now get much more granular with our local market digital strategies.